Nvidia's GTX 1050 provides an affordable entry point into the world of PC gaming.
GeForce GTX 1050 at a glanceHow powerful is the GTX 1050? The GTX 1050 delivers solid performance at Medium to High settings in most modern 1080p games.
When did the GTX 1050 come out? Nvidia launched the GTX 1050 on 25 October 2016.
How much does the GTX 1050 cost? You'll find the GTX 1050 typically retailing for around $190.
What is the GTX 1050?
The GTX 1050 marks the budget-friendly entry point for Nvidia's line of GTX 10 graphics cards. While it can't handle the highest-fidelity modern games at 1080p with the same fluidity that the GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 can, it will run most current titles so long as you're willing to play at 30fps or drop the graphics settings to the Medium/High presets.
This makes the GTX 1050 an ideal card for those looking for a comparable experience to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, as well as for those upgrading from an aging GPU in the GeForce 700 series or earlier. It's also a compelling choice for anyone entering the PC gaming scene for the first time thanks to its affordable price tag and low power requirements.
Underneath the hood, the GTX 1050 makes use of Nvidia's Pascal GPU architecture which offers, among other benefits, enhanced virtual reality performance. The catch here is that both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets recommend using a GTX 1060 or better to ensure stable performance in virtual reality. That doesn't mean VR is impossible on a GTX 1050, but if you want to avoid performance issues and potential incompatibility, you'd be better off springing for a card with a little more grunt.
At launch, the GTX 1050 came in just a single configuration featuring 2GB of GDDR5 RAM and a 128-bit memory bus. In its stock form, this configuration sports a base GPU clock speed of 1354MHz and a boost clock speed of 1455MHz.
Nvidia expanded the GTX 1050 line with a second configuration in May 2018. Packing 3GB of GDDR5 RAM and a smaller 96-bit memory bus, this configuration boasts faster base and boost clock speeds of 1392MHz and 1518MHz respectively.
Both configurations enjoy memory speeds of 7Gbps.
The physical properties of the GTX 1050 can vary significantly depending on the brand, the card design and any additional features the manufacturer has included. Most GTX 1050 cards are dual-slot affairs and require the neighbouring slot on the motherboard to be empty to accommodate the card's bulk, but there are slimmer variants available for PCs where real estate is at a premium.
Beyond the physical space requirements, the GTX 1050 also needs a free PCIe 3.0 slot to connect to as well as a 300W power supply to draw juice from. Unlike its more power-hungry siblings, it doesn't require an external power connector and instead gets by on power from the motherboard alone.
What features does the GTX 1050 support?
Nvidia's Pascal GPU architecture brings a host of features to the GTX 1050, both in terms of hardware and software. The most prominent of these are:
- Nvidia Ansel
- DirectX 12
- HDCP 2.2
- OpenGL 4.5
- Display Port 1.4
- HMDI 2.0b
- Simultaneous multi-projection
- Driver-level triple buffering
How powerful is the GTX 1050?
As the most budget-friendly member of Nvidia's GTX 10 family, the GTX 1050 isn't exactly a performance powerhouse. It won't max out the graphical settings on the latest games, nor will it handle 4K resolutions in anything but the least-taxing 2D and 3D games.
All that said, the GTX 1050 is still capable of delivering a solid gaming experience at 1080p or lower resolutions. For most modern games, it can hit around 60fps on Medium to High graphical settings. Crank those settings to Very High or Ultra and it'll still manage a stable 30fps across a considerable portion of big-budget, graphically intensive titles. Of course, there's never any guarantee that a particular game will perform as you might expect, and there will always be titles that run poorly no matter how powerful your graphics card is.
While virtual reality is technically possible on a GTX 1050, dialling in a smooth experience will likely require lowering a lot of graphics settings and avoiding large-scale titles like Fallout 4 VR and Dirt Rally. If VR is your primary focus, you'd probably be better served with a GTX 1060 or better.
GTX 1050 availability and price
The GTX 1050 first hit the scene on 25 October 2016. In its standard 2GB configuration, you'll find it selling for upwards of $190 depending on the specific brand as well as any extra features that brand has incorporated into its design.
To ensure you get the best deal on a GTX 1050, check out our roundup of the latest bargains on the GTX 1050 from Aussie retailers:
Top 10 deals
GTX 1050 specs
- Base clock speed (2GB/3GB)
- Boost clock speed (2GB/3GB)
- 2GB/3GB GDDR5
- Memory speed
- Memory bus (2GB/3GB)
- Card length
- Card width
- Dual slot
- Card height
- Power draw
- Recommended system power
- Power connectors
- No external power required
- No. HDMI ports
- No. display ports
- No. DVI ports
- DirectX support